Israeli Authorities Begin Expansion of Illegal Bethlehem Settlement

BETHLEHEM, February 15, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities Saturday began construction work for the expansion of the illegal Israeli settlement of Tzur Hadassah, built illegally on the land of Wadi Fukin village to the west of Bethlehem, according to a local official.

Head of the village council, Ahmad Sokar, told WAFA that Israeli forces proceeded with bulldozing the land using dynamite to blow up rocks, given its presence in a mountainous area, to open way for construction work.

The explosions’ sound alarmed the residents living nearby, particularly children, while the splattering rocks resulting from the explosion damaged nearby agricultural land.

He stated that these expansions aim to establish new settlement outposts in the area, particularly following the latest Israeli government’s announcement of new tenders for the expansion of the settlements of Bitar Elit and Tzur Hadassah.

Sokar warned that such actions would pose great danger on the residents, the infrastructure, and on springs, used by locals to irrigate their crops and as drinking water.

He expressed grave concern over these settlement schemes, which would engulf the village from all sides, turning it into an island surrounded by settlements from all sides, which would form an obstacle to residents’ movements and access to their land.

Settlements are illegal under international law as they violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the transfer of the occupying power’s civilian population into occupied territory.

 

WAFA